Some questions just will not die. “Why is there something instead of nothing?” is a perennial. Perhaps the second-most persistent question is this: “Is yawning contagious?” or “Why is yawning contagious?” The empiricists ask the first of these, the metaphysicians the second. Even if scientists cannot give definitive answers, the question is sufficiently fraught with theological and ecclesiological implications that it deserves to be revisited.
Robert R. Provine, a University of Maryland psychologist, brings up the issue in American Scientist (November-December): “Yawns are so infectious that simply reading or thinking about them can be the vector of an infectious response.” Are you still with me, or are you yawning already?